MIT Sloan students go west in annual “Tech Trek 2001”

Cambridge, Mass., January 5, 2001--About 200 graduate management students from the MIT Sloan School will join the School's Annual Tech Trek to Silicon Valley on January 6, 2001. The Tech Trek will last a week and is designed to give students a first-hand look at the world's most entrepreneurial region. While market turbulence has taken some of the luster off this location in recent months, this trip could be even more educational for students. Organized by students of the School's very active MediaTech Club, the event has the support of alumni, staff, and key sponsors, such as Sun Microsystems.

The agenda for the 2001 Tech Trek is more ambitious than it has ever been. Similar to past experience, there will be an alumni panel, which will cover aspects of job negotiation and what it is like to live and work in Silicon Valley. Students will visit a variety of firms--public and private, Internet, network infrastructure, telecom and venture capital--some of which were started by Sloan alumni. But perhaps the most important addition to the 2001 Tech Trek is the fact that a day has been set up for students to interview with well-known companies, such as Nokia, Intel and JDS Uniphase.

On Monday January 8 between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., Palo Alto's Il Fornaio is the site of a panel event hosted by Lightspeed Venture Partners, recently ranked # 2 in BusinessWeek's list of venture capital companies. The panel is comprised of managing partners and senior executives of several high profile network infrastructure companies funded by Lightspeed, including Ciena and LightLogic. Managing partners, in addition to briefing the audience on their backgrounds, will discuss their deal-flow in the network infrastructure space and how they go about selecting among the myriad companies, teams, and businesses competing for their attention.

Perhaps of most interest, the executives will outline how their companies seek to navigate a turbulent market in which the euphoria surrounding the “new economy” appears to be waning on Wall Street. The vision of these executives and their reading of industry trends will be a keystone for the students seeking guidance on how one of the most technologically promising industries will play out--and what it may mean for them. The panel will last for a little more than an hour and will be followed by cocktails and networking.

On Tuesday, January 9, Palo Alto's famous Menlo Circus Club will host a networking session for Sloan students, alumni, staff, and corporate friends. It is no secret that several students on the trip are actively thinking about a variety of business ideas, some related to the companies with whom they are visiting. Some students have definite plans to enter the MIT 50K Entrepreneurship Competition and are on a constant lookout for the opportunity to make the right connections.

The Tech Trek is an important opportunity for students to strike upon new career paths. David Lam, SM '00, and former organizer of the 2000 Tech Trek, recently joined ONI Systems Corp., an optical networking equipment provider in San Jose, as a Manager in the Business Development Group. ONI, like many other companies on the Tech Trek's agenda, wants to capture the mind-share of the students they hope will view ONI as a potential strategic partner, customer, or employer. When Lam began his full-time job search, a valuable contact and Sloan alum whom he met during the 1999 Tech Trek, suggested that he consider ONI. Lam considers his mentor's counsel as “absolutely critical in my decision process to interview for and then accept the job at ONI.”

These are the types of relationships that current students and alumni seek to foster during the MIT Sloan Tech Trek to Silicon Valley in 2001 and beyond. While Wall Street has given technology a lashing at the end of 2000, the students embarking on the Tech Trek are optimistic and energetic, and are eager to send a new wave of entrepreneurial zeal rippling from the East to the West coast in search of the opportunities that they know are out there.

For nearly a half-century, the MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Mass., has been one of the world's leading academic sources of innovation in management theory and practice. With students from more than 60 countries, it develops effective, innovative, and principled leaders who advance the global economy.

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MIT Sloan founder Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. was dedicated to the innovation ethic. “Too often,” he said, “we fail to...pay tribute to the creative spirit.”

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